John Conroy (Edmond O’Brien) is a newly appointed prosecutor. Upon being interviewed by the media, we hear John express his passion for reducing and conquering all things relating to crooks and organized crime and vows that justice will be served to those who are guilty. After settling in, John appoints his father, Matt (Tom Tully), as a leading investigator, but Matt respectfully declines the role for unknown reasons.
Regarding friendships, John has one significant close friend, a reporter named Jerry McKibbon (William Holden). While Jerry shares the same desires as John relating to crime and gaining justice, his methods are pretty different given his work as a reporter. One day, while Jerry is out in public, he witnesses John’s father, Matt, speaking with someone from the mob. Now, Jerry is put in a challenging position. Should he approach Matt and confront him directly about what he saw? Should he speak with John and tell him that his father is corrupt? Now John and Jerry’s close friendship will soon become tested as tension among the many characters grows, and complications and challenging choices need to be made.
The Turning Point is best described as a drama involving mystery and crime. While the film consists of only a small cast, I love how the film has multiple layers. A father wants to do the honourable thing for his son, given his position as a prosecutor. A friend who knows something but doesn’t want it to jeopardize his long-term friendship, and a prosecutor who is up against many challenges, including trying to put many criminals behind bars, now has increasing suspicions of those around him, including his father and close friend.
Pacing for The Turning Point, for the most part, is enjoyable. The film’s introduction carries heavy amounts of prosecutor jargon, which initially seemed slightly complex. Once the film introduced all the leads, along with a few exciting twists and turns, I became invested and curious. While the film’s outcomes are unpredictable and surprising, the film’s third act was a challenge to get through, and the duration feels longer than it is. Performances throughout the film were great, and the dialogue was always snappy and realistic.
Overall, while the film takes a little while to get underway and carries a sluggish third act, I enjoyed this classic film. Considering there’s a small cast here, I loved seeing the multiple layers and tough challenges leading characters must face throughout. With snappy dialogue and solid performances, The Turning Point is a good crime drama with outcomes that I can’t say I saw coming. The Turning Point (1952) is Now Available on Blu-ray – Essential Film Noir Collection 3 from Imprint Films.
21st December 2022
Written by Peter Walkden
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Our opinion on this feature has also been submitted to Rotton Tomatoes (Audiences Score*).